updated 10/5/2006 4:47:47 PM ET 2006-10-05T20:47:47

Smaller stakes and campaigns without much easy cash usually result in fewer polls on House races than on Senate or gubernatorial contests. But in this year's political climate, with control of the House in play and a new GOP sex scandal fanning speculation about yet another seat the Democrats might be able to grab, a national pollster got in on the debate.

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Reuters and Zogby teamed up to poll 15 of the most competitive House races in currently Republican districts, and they came up with some worrisome news for the GOP. (Not coincidentally, 15 is the number of seats Democrats need to win the House.)

The surveys showed Democrats leading in 11 of the districts surveyed. Pollsters tapped at least 500 residents of each area. Some highlights:

Ariz.-08 and Colo.-07: Democrats are leagues ahead in both of these open-seat districts, which Chuck Todd has in the top two spots on his list of most competitive House races. Gabrielle Giffords led her opponent by 7 points, and Ed Perlmutter led his GOP counterpart by 10 percent.

Conn.-04: It's a tough time for moderates in Connecticut, and consummate moderate Rep. Christopher Shays (R) is feeling heat from anti-war challenger Diane Farrell (D); Reuters/Zogby put her about 5 points ahead. Shays bucked the Bush administration Wednesday and called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation.

Iowa-01: This district was one of the four that showed some genuinely good news for the GOP: Republican Mike Whalen is cruising along 12 points ahead of Democrat Bruce Braley. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is trying to keep hope alive for Braley, lavishing attention in the form of heavy TV advertising.

Minn.-06: The Democrat, Patty Wetterling, trailed in this open-seat district as well, but she's just 3 points behind Republican Michele Bachmann. Wetterling -- who became a child-safety advocate after her 11-year-old son disappeared almost two decades ago -- has emerged out in front of the Mark Foley scandal, demanding the resignations of members of Congress who knew about Foley's conduct with underage House pages.

Pa.-06: GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach is running for his second term in this wealthy district on the outskirts of Philadelphia -- and trying, like many Republicans, to keep his distance from President Bush. A June TV ad showed the congressman detailing his opposition to Bush on immigration policy; a response from challenger Lois Murphy ties Gerlach back to the president on trade, drug companies and tax breaks. The Reuters/Zogby poll showed Murphy ahead of the incumbent by less than 3 points, well within the margin of error.

Zogby's Web site has more breakdowns and analysis, and more new surveys released today highlight some of the year's most contentious Senate races.

Copyright 2012 by National Journal Group Inc.


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